September 2010 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
September 1, 2010
7. The Town (September 17th)
Ben Affleck's second big film as director is another crime thriller set smack in his native Boston, and filled to the brim up with good actors - Affleck himself, along with Chris Cooper, the inimitable Pete Postlethwaite, Jon Hamm (making a full transition to film from that show I never watch), and Jeremy Renner, who's really finding his cinematic niche now, post-Oscar nod. Nothing about this crime picture really hints at sturdy box office, but I suspect critics will use the power of the pen to bolster up the film's grosses some. As for the opening weekend? Should come in at just-OK.
Opening weekend: $13 million / Total gross: $41 million
8. Devil (September 17th)
This one's a little horror sleeper plucked up from a spring 2011 release date and thrust into the early Halloween season. The premise is intriguing if a little fuzzy, and the trailers ought to inspire enough curiosity, I think, to drive this to a fair opening weekend. Notably, it's a film that unreservedly uses producer M. Night Shyamalan's name in the marketing; that makes sense, because, much like Shyamalan's recent work - save for fanboy-driven The Last Airbender - this will flourish or sink based on the quality, at least once you get past that opening.
Opening weekend: $16 million / Total gross: $37 million
9. Machete (September 3rd)
As far as I'm concerned, summer doesn't really start until Machete comes to town! And it's about time, too. The picture may have no real stars, but it sure has some acting savvy. Long-, long-, long-time character player Danny Trejo (nearly 150 film credits!) is finally getting a lead role to call his own, and he's got some entertaining support - Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba, doing what they do best, combined with a samurai sword-wielding Steven Seagal, a resurrected Don Johnson, and what is perhaps the year's single most delicious bit of casting: Robert De Niro as a gun-toting senator (if he doesn't tell someone "How's that for a filibuster?" after blowing them away, I want my money back). Of course, turning a two-minute trailer that was intended as kitsch into a full-length feature is risky, but it would only make it more of a hoot to see Machete outgrossing George Clooney (if such an occasion should indeed arise).
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $35 million
10. Easy A (September 17th)
Here's the first clear starring role for Superbad's Emma Stone (though, as a look at next year's release schedule reveals, it is not the last), here matched up against Amanda Bynes, back after years of cinematic hibernation (something about the film, in fact, recalls Bynes' own Sydney White, which opened nearly three years ago to the day). It's hard to see Easy A breaking out of teenmovieland and into something bigger: the trailers are catchy if not spectacularly inspiring, and highlighting the presence of some big-name non-teen supporting actors (Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church) won't likely increase the turnout of the over-25 set. If critics dig it, though, there might be some hope.
Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $34 million
11. The American (September 1st)
Yes, it's a rare non-awards bait role for George Clooney, and it's about time he had one of those! The American probably won't have much appeal beyond your average international thriller, and in terms of star draw, Clooney's working alone here. The trailer seems a little bleak, and the reviews are here and there (Roger Ebert's four star stamp of approval is surprising). But no worries - Oscar-oriented Clooney will return in full force in 2011 - on both sides of the camera, as always.
Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $24 million
12. The Virginity Hit (September 10th)
Yet more teenagers attempt to take that next step and, as always in these movies, all that's really missing is the guy with the machete who's wearing a hockey mask off-season (he's been rebooted out of existence, unfortunately). I know that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Ferrell's favorite director) have something to do with this film, though I am not sure what, and do not really wish to be told (it would spoil the mystique). The real question is: is the Virginity Hit really getting a wide release, just nine days from today? If so, George Clooney's The American may well have some real competition for that #11 slot.